The 12 Best Lightweight Laptops to Buy in 2019

Ultrabooks: fulfill all your computer's needs without the added bulk and weight

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Most Popular: ASUS Chromebook Flip C302

4.7

When it comes to budget-friendly laptops, HD resolution is often the first thing to be eliminated. Not so with the ASUS Chromebook Flip. You can still enjoy all your favorite videos in picture-perfect 1080p on the 12.5-inch anti-glare screen. This Chromebook is a definitely lightweight at only 2.65 pounds and can easily transform from a laptop into a tablet with its flexible 360-degree hinge. The interface and controls are very user-friendly — the touch screen is very responsive, the touchpad is appealingly oversized, and the backlit keyboard provides 1.4mm of key travel for comfortable typing.

The Chromebook Flip C302 contains an Intel Pentium 4405Y processor with 64GB storage and 4GB of RAM to provide fast and reliable performance (even on a budget). You also receive 100GB of additional storage on Google Drive. Despite its slim design, this laptop also provides an adequate amount of port space: USB 3.1 and Type-C ports, a micro SD slot, and a standard audio jack. The battery life lasts about 10 hours per charge. While some may find that 4GB of storage to be a bit on the small side, the Chromebook is a reliable laptop that won’t break the bank.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best laptops under $500

Best Overall: Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

4.6

The Microsoft Surface 2 features a lovely, sleek design that easily rivals the MacBook Air. Like its Surface predecessor, its dimensions are 12.13 x 8.79 x 0.96 inches and it weighs 2.76 pounds. The 13.5-inch display also features full HD resolution with 201 pixels-per-inch, delivering crisp, vivid colors and deep shadows. The Surface 2 comes in four fashionable tone-on-tone color combinations: black, platinum, cobalt blue, and burgundy.

For the Surface 2, Microsoft boasts faster processing speeds than its predecessor. Also, one of the laptops main draws is the option to customize your own specs. In its most baseline configuration, it offers an 8th-generation Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB solid-state storage. Microsoft also includes descriptions for each of these specs to help buyers determine which combination best fits their needs.

We’ve really only found two downsides with the Surface 2. The first is the battery life: while Microsoft promises 14.5 hours of use on a single charge, many users report that the laptop tends to last for closer to 5.5 hours with a normal level of use. The second issue is the outdated ports: The Surface 2 has a Type-A USB input but doesn’t include a standard 3.1 USB port. If you’re planning to use this laptop more like a mobile workstation, then this probably isn’t a huge problem, but it is strange to see such an outdated spec on an otherwise top-quality product.

Best Large Screen: LG gram 15Z970 15.6”

4.6

LG released a powerhouse of an ultrabook that is winning accolades for being one of the lightest and slimmest 15” screens. The specs are sure to impress, as the laptop tries to be the best gram for gram on the market. It weighs a featherweight 2.5 pounds, thanks to a sleek metal alloy body made from advanced nano carbon and magnesium for a durable, but ultra-lightweight case that is less than 0.7” thick. Meanwhile, the thin bezel doesn’t distract from the gorgeous IPS screen that gives more viewing area and exquisite style.

Besides the thin lightweight design and gorgeous 15.6” IPS screen, the laptop has a powerful 7th generation i5 Intel processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. The battery keeps going for over 15 hours of power, while DTS Headphone: X delivers expansive 11.1 channels of audio for a revelatory listening experience.

Best Apple: Apple MacBook Air (2018)

When the first gen MacBook Air came out, Apple advertised it as being so thin that you could slide it into a manila folder. Since then, a lot of other Apple laptops have come out that are even lighter and even more powerful, including the 2017 12-inch MacBook. But in 2018, Apple dropped an updated version of the 13-inch MacBook air, and it comes with some welcome additions. At 2.75 pounds and 15.6 mm in thickness, it very clearly makes the cut for “lightweight,” and the tapered-toward-the-front design makes it look and feel even thinner from certain angles.

Inside, there’s an 8th-gen core i5 processor, so you won’t get top-of-the-line processor speeds, but it does beat many other “lightweight” PCs. Another great addition here is that you can opt for RAM as much as 16GB, so you’ll be able to bolster that middle-of-the-road processor with some high levels of on-demand memory. Another factor contributing to the speed is the upgraded super-fast SSDs that you can configure up to 1.5 TB for tons of storage headroom. The slim size doesn't hamper battery capacity as much as you would expect, either — Apple advertises up to 12 hours on a single charge. The single USB-C/Thunderbolt port and the slightly tinny speakers do detract from the premium experience a bit. But the presence of a fingerprint sensor and the (finally) upgraded 2560 x 1600 pixel 13.3-inch display make this a lightweight laptop that’s worth a look.

Best Portability: ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54

At 12.7 x 8.7 x .5 inches and 2.68 pounds, the ZenBook UX330 is one of the most portable laptops on the market today. It has a 13.3-inch, 1080p display that produces vibrant colors and promises wide viewing angles of up to 178 degrees. Its touchpad incorporates a convenient fingerprint sensor that enables a fast and secure log-in.

Thanks to an Intel Core 2.5GHz i5-7200U processor and a 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD) with 8GB DDR3 RAM, it boots up in seconds and handles photo and video editing software with ease. Unlike the ZenBook UX305UA, the UX330UA has a backlit keyboard that makes typing on the ergonomic keyboard a comfortable experience even in dim settings. You’d think that would add to battery drain, but with over 10 hours of battery life, the UX330UA keeps you working on long flights. Running Windows 10, this ultrabook is a great alternative to a MacBook, striking the perfect balance between performance and portability.

Check out our other reviews of the best laptops available on the market today.

Best Design: Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 packs a 13.3” display in a laptop the size of a typical 11” notebook, which makes for a computer that’s both compact and lightweight. Whether you’re at work or playing, the 2.7-pound XPS 13 has more than enough horsepower to get you through the day.

Our model of choice includes an Intel Core i5 3.4 GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB SSD, up to 11 hours of battery life and Windows 10. That option is priced several hundred dollars cheaper than Apple’s MacBook Air. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a QHD+ display, but still offers the non-touch InfinityEdge border which remains stunning no matter your configuration. With a comfortable keyboard to type on, precise trackpad, huge range of configurations and a design that’s unrivaled, the Dell XPS 13 is fantastic.

Best Value: Huawei MateBook X Pro

Huawei is central to a tech revolution right now: overseas brands taking the market by storm with no-frills devices that give you a ton of bang for your buck. Now, before you go arguing that this is a premium laptop due to the price tag, it’s important to note that it offers features that are nearly on-par with the MacBook Pro for well under the price. The MateBook X Pro, like a few other laptops, has fallen in the interim between the Intel i5 and i7, and while the latter will give you a performance bump, for price and value we recommend the i5. (The i5 is an 8th gen processor with plenty of power, and paired with 8GB of RAM and a solid-state 256 GB drive in this machine, the power and speed afforded you will be great.)

But the real calling card here is the nearly bezel-less, touchscreen FullView Display, featuring a super-crisp 3K resolution and a 91% screen-to-body ratio. There are quad speakers, quad microphones, and a pop-out 1MP webcam for high-quality video calls, plus an all-day battery to keep you going through the whole work day. And with the built-in Windows 10 Signature edition (that has been stripped of bloatware and optimized for the MateBook), you’ll get an impressively clean experience right out of the box.

Best for Durability: Asus ZenBook S

Equal parts rugged and portable, this 13.3-inch, all-metal laptop weighs barely over two pounds and, thanks to a 50Wh lithium-polymer battery, can last for 13.5 hours. At just 0.5-inches thick, the Asus Zenbook S contains either the i5-825OU or an i7-855OU CPU, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack and three USB-C ports. The ErgoLift hinge allows the keyboard to tilt by 5.5 inches for more comfortable typing and increased airflow beneath the chassis.

Multiple display options are available, including a 4K glossy touchscreen and an HD non-touchscreen, all of which are enclosed by barely-there 5.9mm-thick NanoEdge bezels. However, in a bid for lightness, the machine only packs Intel’s integrated UHD 620 graphics, though 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD options are available. The ZenBook S is not the cheapest option on the market, but was built to military specifications for durability and includes Amazon Alexa integration for voice control.

Best for Gaming: MSI GS65 Stealth Gaming Laptop

With requirements like mechanical keys and insane levels of processing and graphics speeds, gaming laptops are almost never considered “lightweight”. That’s what makes options like the MSI Stealth GS65 all the more interesting. It achieves its form factor with some smart design choices like a super-thin bezel that is less than 5mm. The screen they fit in there is pretty great to look at too, sporting IPS tech for great viewing angles and a 144Hz refresh rate to make things feel snappy. Those are important factors to consider because there’s an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 that is VR-capable, meaning that the graphics processing here is stunning.

This particular configuration has a super-fast 8th-gen 6-core i7-8750H processor alongside 16GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive. That might sound like a lot of power, but this is actually where some of the concessions were made for the lighter weight, as many gaming PCs contain a lot more RAM. Seeing as it weighs just over 4 pounds, however, we can forgive some compromises. Finally, you’ll get some important gaming features including a stepped-up cooling system, Steel series keys that offer great tactile feel (especially for a laptop), and individual RGB lights for each key switch, allowing you customize the look.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best gaming laptops.

Best for Business: Acer Swift 3

Acer is often known as a bargain brand, but at just under $800, this one doesn't quite fit that bill. If you’re in the market for a business computer, however, you’re probably willing to pay a bit more for reliability and power. The Acer Swift 3's 8th gen core i5 processor will handle most of what you throw at it, and though this configuration comes with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, you can opt for a core i7 processor with those same stats. There’s an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card with its own 2GB of dedicated RAM so the graphics performance will be pretty impressive too.

According to Acer, a 3220 mAh battery gives you about 10 hours of battery life, and there’s a fingerprint reader for added security. The 14-inch 1920 x 1080 display isn’t quite the pixel spectacle of higher-priced machines, but the metal construction makes the laptop feel premium. It’s under 1-inch thick and only 3.75 pounds, so it won’t weigh your briefcase down. All in all, it’s a perfectly serviceable work computer for traveling business people, with some surprising stats for this price point.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best business laptops

Best for Students: Yoga 720

Lenovo - Yoga 720
Courtesy of BestBuy.com

Students in search of a flexible work environment should consider the Yoga 720, a 2-in-1 ultrabook with a 360-degree flip-and-fold design that offers four unique laptop modes. The lightweight device can be used as a traditional laptop for taking notes in a lecture hall, a tablet for bus rides, a tent for presentations, as well as a stand for watching movies in the dorm room. All of this versatility clocks in at just 2.9 pounds and is .6” thin, making for an ultraportable device that won’t weigh down your backpack. It is powered by an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250 processor and 8GB DDR4 RAM, which will allow you to play games or work on graphic design programs, depending if you’re in the mood for leisure or business. Other nice features include a backlit keyboard, a built-in 720 HD webcam, three USB ports and a 10-point multitouch screen.

Best for Travel: Acer Swift 7

The Acer Swift 7 is one of the thinnest laptops money can buy. The computer is only 0.39 inches thick, and it’s lightweight too, weighing just 2.48 lbs. It’s almost hard to believe an entire CPU can fit into such a small package, but Acer pulls it off. The result is a compact, good-looking laptop that’s easy to take on the go and is a suitable option for everyday computing tasks.

For its size alone, the Acer Swift 7 is a perfect laptop for traveling, especially if you’re tight on space. And you don’t even have to sacrifice screen size: The 13.3-inch HD screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080, which is pretty great for a lightweight laptop.

Because the Acer Swift 7 is so thin, it’s missing a few bells and whistles. The display isn’t a touchscreen, you only get two USB-C ports, and the keyboard isn’t backlit. But if you don’t mind those pared-down features, it’s still a solid choice for the casual user on the go. Unless you’re looking for a gaming laptop or one that can handle heavy editing programs or 4k video, the laptop’s 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7Y54 processor with 8GB of RAM should suffice. 

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 65 hours testing three top-rated lightweight laptops. To get the most comprehensive results, they configured them to their liking and experimented with their various capabilities, from sending emails to editing photos. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these lightweight laptops, from their battery life to their screen size and weight. We've outlined the key points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Lightweight Laptop

Battery life - One of the best features of lightweight computers is that their batteries tend to last longer. If you’ll be using your laptop on a plane or in a coffee shop, you’ll want to check its expected battery life so you aren’t constantly in search of an outlet.

Screen size - If 13-inch laptops are too small for you, we have good news: It’s not hard to find a lightweight 15-inch laptop. You’re likely going to have to sacrifice a little bit of weight for a larger screen, but if this will be your primary device, it might be worth an extra pound or two.

Specs - Lightweight laptops save on weight by having lower specs than comparable heavier models. These machines are often perfect for emailing and browsing the Internet. However, if you’re planning on doing some heavy-duty video editing, it’s important to pay attention to features such as processing power and RAM to ensure that your machine will be capable of doing what you need it to do.

Test Results: ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 (Most Popular)

4.7

What We Like

  • Easy to use

  • Extremely portable

  • Responsive touchscreen

What We Don't Like

  • Unresponsive trackpad

ASUS Chromebook Flip C302
ASUS Chromebook Flip
ASUS Chromebook
ASUS Flip C302

“Overall, this is a really great machine at a wonderful price point,” raved one of our testers, who thought it was the ideal combination of a laptop and an Android tablet. Another plus, according to our reviewers, was its portability, ease of use, and responsive touchscreen. “As someone who's long been a skeptic of touchscreen laptops,” one tester said, “this has made me somewhat of a convert.” However, one of our reviewers described the laptop's trackpad as “truly frustrating and not responsive.”

Test Results: Microsoft Surface 2 (Best Overall)

4.6

What We Like

  • Attractive design

  • Intuitive to use

  • Long battery life

What We Don't Like

  • Heavy

  • Low number of USB ports

  • Bottom of laptop gets warm with use

This laptop was the perfect combination of “gorgeous and functional,” according to one of our reviewers. One tester also loved its long battery life and felt that it was more intuitive than other PCs: “Small features, such as facial recognition, worked well without having to fiddle with settings repeatedly,” he explained. In terms of negatives, our reviewers thought it was heavy and reported that it got warm with continued use. One tester also wished it had more than one USB 3.0 port: “It has just enough ports that I wouldn't feel the need to travel with a dock,” he said, “but I found myself wishing I could charge my phone and attach an external USB hard drive.”

Test Results: LG gram 15Z970 15.6” (Best Large Screen)

4.6

What We Like

  • Simple setup

  • Very portable

  • Easy navigation

What We Don't Like

  • Screen too reflective

  • Inconvenient camera placement

LG gram 15Z970 15.6”
LG gram 15Z970
LG gram 15.6”
LG gram
LG gram laptop

“The three most impressive things about this device,” explained one of our reviewers, “are its ease of setup, extremely lightweight design — that’s also quite aesthetically pleasing and in the same vein as Apple products — and the easy-to-navigate desktop and start menu.” One tester also declared that this machine was the most portable laptop she’d ever used. On the other hand, one of our reviewers felt that its screen was so reflective that even a little bit of sun created a glare and that the camera positioning was strange: “It’s at the bottom of the screen rather than the top,” she noted, “which makes for a weird angle when you’re Skyping or video chatting.”